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Frisco Del Rosario writes about chess960, women's basketball, minor league baseball, unsupported collectible card games, lettering in comic books, and Golden Age movies

Kristine Anigwe’s 50-point game against Sacramento State was pretty routine, actually 12/11/2016

Logo_GoldenBear_whtA few years ago, while Cal was headed to the Final Four, coach Lindsey Gottlieb said that Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer — whose Cardinal have owned the region for 1,000 years — was glad that another Pac-12 team was climbing toward elite status.

The rising tide floated all boats, because look at the Pac-12 today: Teams in the Pac-12 Conference are a combined 86-13. Colorado was #11 in the preseason poll, but the Buffaloes are 9-0 and #18 in the country. Following Cal’s 97-73 win over Sacramento State Friday, the Golden Bears are 8-0, their best start in program history. (Like Cal, Utah was predicted to place in the middle of the dozen, and the Utes are 9-0 after downing interstate rival Brigham Young 77-60 Saturday. Utah shouldn’t be in the Pac-12, but OK since it means coach Lynne Roberts and her Pacific captain Kendall Rodriguez have to visit the Bay Area at least once.)

No matter what Cal does against Lehigh Sunday, sophomore forward Kristine Anigwe is probably the conference player of the week, given her team record 50 points plus 14 rebounds against Sacramento State.

It was an impressively efficient performance — 50 points on 19-of-23 shooting in 24 minutes played — but it really was not a spectacular game. Remember last month when Anigwe had 29 and 19 in two games at the Cal Classic, and I said it was a pretty bad weekend? That was because she’s capable of 50 points in 24 minutes.

The conditions were right for Anigwe’s 50 — Cal was moving the ball (29 assists on 40 field goals vs. the Hornets), and Sacramento State is vulnerable against agile forwards. The Hornets spread the floor on offense because they’re aiming for a record number of threes every night, and they spread themselves defensively to give themselves a jump on a fast break — though that leaves them helpless against a forward who can split the seams and get behind the defense. Pacific’s Kendall Kenyon — the swiftest and most mobile forward I’ve ever seen — had 28 points and 21 rebounds against Sacramento State, but the Hornets’ strategy was fruitful, and the Hornets knocked the Tigers out of the NIT.

Anigwe had 60 points in sight. Her four missed field goals could’ve bounced differently, and she said it herself: “I missed too many free throws”. A couple of additional field goals plus an improvement on 12-of-19 from the free throw line would have totaled 60 — *that* I might’ve termed spectacular. Coach Gottlieb said again that Anigwe “makes the crazy look ordinary” and that each of her field goals came within the flow of the offense.

I tweeted during the second half — while Anigwe was a few points shy of Alexis Gray-Lawson’s Cal record 47 — that she might break the record, but the play I’d remember would be her 50-foot outlet pass to start a Anigwe-to-Mo Mosley-to-MiCole Cayton fast break. Cayton had to finish that play crossing under the basket, which made it highlight reel material. That play won’t even show in Anigwe’s boxscore totals, but a reporter at the press conference said it was the first time Anigwe looked happy all night. “[Mosley] can run,” Anigwe said. “I knew if I pass it ahead of her, she’s gonna get the ball.” The sophomore Mosley did, then found freshman Cayton flying from the other wing.

50 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks, and an assist that would appear in a hockey boxscore: “There’s not a more complete post player in the country,” said Gottlieb.

East Bay basketball fans are suddenly spoiled — they’ve grown accustomed to the spectacular. When Curry or Thompson have remarkable games, they’re raining threes from everywhere; their defenders have to move out to meet them, and the Splash Brothers step further out. That’s spectacular — what Anigwe did was dependable and efficient (and expected — considering what our Kendall did on a good night for the Hornets, I thought an easy 30 was in store for Anigwe on a good night for the Golden Bears).

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